Bessie Love

Active - 1915 - 2005  |   Born - Sep 10, 1898   |   Died - Apr 26, 1986   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance

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Biography by Rovi

Love was born Juanita Horton. While still a Los Angeles high school student she began appearing in films in 1915. She was given her screen name by filmmaker D.W. Griffith. In 1916 she began appearing in lead roles opposite several major stars, and made a big impression as the Bride of Cana in Intolerance. Her subsequent career was a roller-coaster; each time she appeared to have broken through as a major star in a big film, she was cast in several forgettable ventures and had to start her way back up. Also, producers weren't sure how to cast her: at first she was an ingenue heroine; in the early '20s she played somber leads in melodramas; in the late '20s she was in light films. A footnote: in 1925 she introduced the Charleston to films in King on Main Street. She had several "comebacks," the most noteworthy of which was in the talkie musical The Broadway Melody. Successfully making the transition to sound, she proved herself to be a very talented song-and-dance star and received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Once again very popular, she nevertheles appeared in few additional films, primarily because the films in which she was cast were of low quality. In 1931 she appeared at the New York Palace. In 1935 she moved to London, where she remained the rest of her life; after that her film work was sporadic, though it continued until the early '80s. During World War Two she served with the American Red Cross in England and worked as a film technician at Ealing Studios. Later in her life she did much stage work, starring in numerous plays; she also wrote the play The Homecoming (1958), designed to star herself.

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